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The Write Stuff

By: Amy K. Nelson

 

He scribbles the notes to himself on white index cards, positive reminders of a good BP session of fielding drill. Felipe Lopez knows the cards will come in handy when he needs them. "You have to go through tough times to learn," the Reds shortstop says.

 

Back in Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Lopez was a switch-hitter with a killer combo of power and speed. He drew comparisons to A-Rod and was drafted eighth overall in 1998 by the Blue Jays. Rushed to the bigs at 21, Lopez struggled with the bat and glove. Then in late 2002, he was traded to the Reds, where he was asked to replace a local legend. Fortunately, Barry Larkin treated Lopez like a kid brother. "Don't try to be me," Larkin advised. "Be yourself."

 

To that end, the soft-spoken Lopez started keeping the index cards. When he wasn't hitting or fielding well, he'd pull out reminders of what had worked. His turning point came last year, when he became more focused and selective. "Before, I swung at everything," he says. "Now I'm patient and waiting for my pitches."

 

At 25, Lopez is an All-Star, hitting near .300 with 16 homers through July. "All the struggles just made me stronger as a person," he says.

 

It's all in the cards.

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What's the deal with Lopez? Did he hit a wall or something?

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It sure seems like it. He really has never played this long in his career because he has been a backup/ minor leaguer. He is in a huge slum he is 0-22 or 0-23. I hope thats is just he has "tired bat" maybe we can give him a few days off and he will break out of the slump.

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